Matching the experience we feel inside - Deepstash

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The Psychology of Halloween: 3 Reasons We Crave the Scare

Matching the experience we feel inside

Halloween is an opportunity to align ourselves from the inside out with our own psychological feeling.

It makes us feel completely alive in a split second -- like a wake-up call.

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Feeling rewarded

According to a 2008 study, dopamine is responsible for feelings of accomplishment and rewards, but it's also been linked to averse emotions like fear and dread.

People who enjoy fearful o...

It can bring people together
Fear, rather than scattering people screaming into the night, might actually make them huddle closer together.

We build a special closeness with those we are with when we're in an excited or scared state.

The right kind of fear

The fun of Halloween is that you can experience the thrill of fear without any real threat.

It's all about triggering the fight-or-flight response to experience the flood of adrenaline, endorphins, and dopamine, but in a completely safe space.

The 'dark factor'

A love of horror movies is associated with an underlying dimension of entertainment preferences, dubbed "the dark factor".

Those with dark tastes value intensity, edginess and rebellion. Thei...

The pleasure paradox

Some derive enjoyment from negative emotional states, as when enjoying a "good cry", for instance.

A study found that people who liked sad films enjoyed a scene relative to how much sadness it elicited. The stronger the sadness, the higher the enjoyment.

Trick or treat

Halloween seems to bring out excesses in costumed children and adults.

Several studies revealed that costumed children who were anonymous — by wearing masks for instance — were more likely to take extra candies. In adults, costumed Halloween celebrators tend to have higher blood alcohol readings than people in plain clothes.

Primary factors that make horror films alluring
  • Tension - Generated by suspense, mystery, terror, shock and gore.
  • Relevance - The horror film may relate to personal relevance, cultural meaningfulness, the fea...
Viewing motivators for horror movies
  • Gore watchers typically have low empathy, high sensation seeking, and a strong identification with the killer.
  • Thrill watchers typically have both high empathy and sensation seeking;they identify themselves more with the victims and like the suspense of the film.
  • Independent watchers typically have a high empathy for the victim along with a high positive effect for overcoming fear.
  • Problem watchers typically have high empathy for the victim but are characterized by negative effect (particularly a sense of helplessness).
Theories on why we love to watch horror films
  • Dr. Carl Jung believed horror films “tapped into primordial archetypes buried deep in our collective subconscious – images like shadow and mother play important role in the horror genre”.
  • Horror films are watched as a way of purging negative emotions and/or as a way to relieve pent-up aggression.
  • Horror movies are enjoyed because the people on screen getting killed deserve it.
  • Cultural historian David Skal has argued that horror films simply reflect our societal fears.